How To File A Civil Suit In Maryland?
How Can I File a Small Claim? – There are four basic steps to starting a small claims case:
- File a Complaint form (DC-CV-001) with the court.
- Pay the filing fee. Check the District Court’s Civil Cost Schedule (DCA-109) for fees.
- The court will issue a Writ of Summons to officially notify the other side (called “the defendant”) that a suit has been filed.
- Proof of Service (DC-CV-002) is submitted to the court that the other side has been notified, or served.
Be sure to name the correct defendant. One of the most challenging parts of filing a small claim is to make sure you sue the right person.
- 1 How much does it cost to file a civil suit in Maryland?
- 2 How much can I sue for in Maryland?
- 3 What is a civil Summons in Maryland?
- 4 What happens if you win in small claims court and they don’t pay?
- 5 What kinds of civil cases are heard by Maryland district courts?
How much does it cost to file a civil suit in Maryland?
For more information, please refer to the Circuit Court Fee Schedule established under Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, Section 7-202.
|Civil Action Filing Fee w/ Attorney (Includes Habeas Corpus and Administrative Appeals. WCC and Unemployment, costs payable at end of case.)||$185.00||Costs for filing new case|
|Civil Action Filing Fee w/o Attorney (Includes District Court Appeals)||$165.00||Self-represented litigant costs for filing new case|
|Attorney Appearance||$20.00||Per firm|
|Complaint to foreclose a mortgage or deed of trust on residential property||$300.00||In addition to any other filing fees required by law|
|Request for foreclosure mediation||$50.00|
|Motion to Modify Custody, Visitation, Alimony or Support; Petition or Motion for Contempt; Writ of Execution and/or Writ of Garnishment||$31.00|
|Dismissal (Partial or full dismissal)||$15.00||Plus any open court costs|
|Judgments – Enforcement||$31.00|
|Judgments – Assignment, Credit, Modification, Release and/or Satisfaction||$15.00|
|Copy Fees (per page)||$0.50||Plus $2.00 mailing fee if requested to be mailed back|
|Certification fee||$5.00||Plus copy fees, and additional $2.00 mailing fee if requested to be mailed back|
|Exemplification fee||$10.00||Plus copy fees, and additional $2.00 if requested to be mailed back|
How much can you sue for in small claims court in Maryland?
Your case can be heard in small claims court if the amount is for $5,000 or less. The case must involve only money (not property). The procedure is simplified.
How long do you have to file a civil lawsuit in Maryland?
In Maryland, most cases must be filed within three years of the time when it was first possible to sue, but some must be filed sooner and some may be filed later. In order to commence an action, you must file a Complaint which will be supplied to you by the clerk of the court and you must pay certain court costs.
How much can I sue for in Maryland?
The most important information you need to know is that the person who claims damages must prove the amount of damages.
- First you must prove that you have been harmed.
- Then you must prove how much you have been harmed. The judge will expect you to have a clear explanation of how you arrived at the amount of damages you are requesting.
Below are some tips on how to calculate the amount of damages. Tip # 1 – Be reasonable. Do not estimate damages too high.
- Remember that you will need to show how you calculated the amount.
- If you estimate too high, the other side may be less likely to negotiate or settle. For example, requesting a high amount of damages may cause the other side to become too angry with you to work out an arrangement in advance (and a settlement agreement may be the best solution).
- Also, the judge has seen many more of these cases than you have. If your damage claim is outrageously high, the judge may find it harder to believe the other parts of your case, especially where the judge needs to rely on your opinion.
Tip # 2 – If you are not sure, estimate the damages on the high side.
- But don’t forget that you must have some sort of proof for how you calculated the damage amount that you claim.
- If you need to make an estimate at the time that you file the complaint, however, estimate a bit high because the judge cannot award you more than the amount requested but can award you less.
Tips # 3 – Be aware of the various monetary limits in District Court.
- The monetary limits in District Court do not include interest, costs, or attorneys fees.
- The maximum amount that can be claimed in small claims court is $5,000, also not including interest, attorneys’ fees, or court costs.
- The maximum amount you can sue for in District Court is $30,000, not including interest, attorneys’ fees, or court costs.
- Review the difference between small and large claims here,
- If the amount of damages is close to the small claims limit, consider reducing the amount in order to have your claim heard in the more informal small claims court.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 4-401 ; § 4-405 Tip # 4 – Calculate the interest owed on a loan debt.
- If you have a loan agreement, the first place to look is at the actual agreement.
- Some agreements include an interest rate that is due as part of the regular payments on the loan.
- If your agreement notes an amount of interest, calculate the money owed to you by looking at what is past due.
- You cannot claim money that is not yet past due; however, some loans have a special section that says if any one payment is missed, the entire amount of the loan is due. If this clause is in your agreement, you can claim the entire amount that is left on the loan.
- Many agreements do not include an interest amount. If your agreement simply says that the other side will pay you back the amount that you lent, you are not entitled to claim interest. Read the Law: Md. Code, Court and Judicial Proceedings, § 11-106
Any “prejudgment” interest will be listed separately in the decision issued by the judge. Read the Rule: Md. Rule 3-604(a) For interest owed after a court judgment, the judge has the authority to order that the losing party pay interest on the amount of the damages.
- The damages include the principal owed plus the prejudgment interest (if any).
- However, if the loan maturity date has not yet been reached, the interest rate from the loan contract will continue to apply until the maturity date is reached. For example, Joe loaned Mary $4,500 for two years with an interest rate of 7%. When Mary stopped paying on the loan after one and a half years, Joe sued her in small claims court. Joe won but the loan still had 6 months to go. Mary is entitled to have the 7% interest rate applied to her judgment damages for the 6 months. After that, the 10% interest rate will apply.
Tip # 5 – Include all of your court costs.
- Since bringing the case to court costs you money, you should ask the judge to include the court costs as part of the judgment against the other side.
- You can claim the cost of filing the complaint, the cost of serving the other side, and sometimes the costs of obtaining certain documents to prove your case.
- You generally cannot claim costs such as the pay you lost by taking off time from work, mileage to get to the courthouse or parking fees, photocopying materials, child care costs, etc.
Tip # 6 – Claim contract damages.
- The terms of the contract usually lay out the amounts that you will need to consider in making a damage claim. Both sides should review the terms carefully and then decide what the real damages were.
- Example 1: You signed a contract and agreed to replace the tile in a bathroom for $1,200 including the cost of the tiles. You purchased and delivered the tiles, which cost $475, to the house and then did not have time to put the tiles up and complete the job. The homeowner sues you for $1,200. You respond that the damage suffered by the homeowner was not really $1,200 but instead $725 for the labor. The homeowner already has the tiles that were part of the contract.
- Example 2: You signed a contract and agreed to replace the tile in a bathroom for $1,200 including the cost of the tiles. You purchased the tiles and then the homeowner called you to cancel. You are clearly harmed for the cost of the tiles, the labor to pick them up/return them and any restocking fee. If you were unable to find other work for the 2 days that you had set aside to do this job, then you will want to sue for the entire amount.
Tip # 7 – Consider “mitigating” damages.
- You might be able to “mitigate the damages.” This means that you have an obligation to do your best to minimize the harm to you.
- In the example above, if you were able to find other work for those two days, then you had an obligation to take the work. The judge is likely to ask you about this. If you used the same two days to build a fence next door to the homeowner who canceled, she could show the judge that you did not lose two days of work because of her cancellation. Therefore the judge may decide that you will not be awarded the entire amount for the lost job. The judge is likely only to award the amount for the tiles and the labor involved in purchasing and returning the tiles.
Source A special project of the Eastern Shore Regional Library under a Library Services Technology Act grant from the Division of Library Development Services/MD State Department of Education (author: Ayn H. Crawley). Edits by Regina Strait, Esq. Last Updated: Fri, 05/06/2022 – 5:06 pm
What is a civil Summons in Maryland?
In order to let the opposing party, or defendant, know you are filing a civil action, you must serve the opposing party with a copy of your complaint. This service is accomplished by issuing a summons through the Clerk’s Office. The Court has a standard summons form.
What happens if you win in small claims court and they don’t pay?
Can you be forced to pay a judgement? – Yes. If you receive a judgment to pay and do not wilfully do so after the court’s decision, you can be forced to pay. The business or person making the claim can ask the courts to collect the money from the debtor.
What legal action can you take if someone owes you money?
If someone owes you money and they refuse to pay you at the agreed time, you may take the matter to the Small Claims Court. If someone has bought goods such as furniture from you and they have failed to pay for it, you can take the matter to the Small Claims Court.
What kinds of civil cases are heard by Maryland district courts?
The District Court hears both civil cases — including claims up to $30,000, domestic violence cases, landlord/tenant disputes, replevin (the recovery of goods claimed to be wrongfully taken or held), and civil cases involving amounts at or less than $5,000 — and criminal cases.